Team meetings suck, but they are a must — both internally and externally — for most businesses.
Google “meetings” and you’ll find that many articles on the subject insinuate what most of us already know: team meetings SUCK.
The telltale signs of sucky meetings are laid out in this post (read if you dare).
But, in true B Squared form, we’re also giving you our team meeting secrets to help you not be so sucky.
Signs Your Team Meetings Suck
I’ve been to many a sucky meeting.
Here’s how you know your team meetings suck (and are sucking the life out of your team):
- There isn’t a clear purpose for your team meetings
- They take place when team members are often unavailable (example: Mondays or Fridays)
- They take place too early or too late in the workday
- It’s a “lunch” meeting (no it isn’t –the focus will either be on the food, or meeting, not both)
- There’s no meeting agenda
- Meeting attendees don’t walk away with action items; no follow-up
- Your team meetings are too long (it’s said that 15 minutes is best)
- Attendees are allowed to have phones or computers in front of them during your meeting
- Everyone and their dog is invited to the meeting
- Lateness, interruptions, rudeness and/or inattentiveness are “regulars” at your team meetings
Of course, there are always exceptions.
We hold our meetings on Mondays at midmorning (10AM) as we’ve found that works best for our team.
We also have to allow computer use in our team meetings because we’re a remote team and that’s how we meet (on the computer)!
To stress #8 and #10, these signs are often proof bigger problems exist in your organization and also show a lack of leadership and the ability to control your attendees.
The Marshall School of Business conducted a survey of over 500 professionals and found that cell phone use is almost always frowned upon by your coworkers:
- 86% think it’s inappropriate to answer phone calls during meetings
- 84% think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails during meetings
- 75% think it’s inappropriate to read texts or emails during meetings
Think about the message it sends when the above is more important than the meeting you’re having.
When your attendees feel unimportant or unheard, your team meetings suck.
How To Have Better Team Meetings
No one knows your business better than you, but I would like to share a team meeting agenda we’ve put in place.
It’s been extremely productive for our team.
The Level 10 Meeting
EOS Worldwide gave us the basis for the meetings we have every Monday. Here’s how a Level 10 works:
TL;DW (too long, didn’t watch)? Here’s the agenda we implement for our meetings every Monday.
Keep in mind, this is not the exact agenda as EOS but is tweaked to work best for our team.
B Squared Media L10 Agenda
- The Good News [5 mins]: We allow for both personal and professional good news since our team is remote and a personal touch helps us feel closer.
- Good/Great/Better If (for last week’s tasks) [5 mins]: This is where each team member shares what was GOOD, what was GREAT, and what would have been BETTER IF for their tasks and projects the previous week. This is especially helpful for the leadership team as we can take the temperature of what tasks or which clients are causing issues.
- Customer/Employee Updates (one sentence headline) [5 mins]: Here we give updates on current customers, potential clients, and employee updates. This section of the meeting underscores what should be on everyone’s radar for the week.
- Action Items [5 mins]: During this section, we assign the most pressing to-dos and also discuss any overdue items we have in our project management system. ALL action items and tasks are immediately tasked to the appropriate person in Basecamp (our project management software) and given a deadline for completion.
- Issues Solving [15 mins]: We give the most time to solving issues that team members bring to the meeting AND to the “better if” issues that creep up in the first 10 minutes of our team meetings. Our rule of thumb is to not only to come to the table with your issue but also with three possible solutions. This way, issues are likely solved before they’ve even been presented. Sometimes, though, it’s a group effort to think about how we can best solve problems.
- Wrap Up [5 mins]: We have a specific way to end our meetings: 1) we recap #4 (to-dos), 2) we rate ourselves for the previous week, 3) we rate the meeting. Rating ourselves and how we performed the previous week is important, and also gives team members a chance to say, “hey, wait! You did XYZ last week and that was huge. I’d say you’re at a 9, not an 8!” Again, this helps our remote team feel closer. And rating the meeting helps us understand how/if our meeting format is working out.
If you watched the Level 10 video, you hear that most team meetings are rated a 3 (your team meetings suck!).
I’m proud to say our average team meeting rating is a 7 — and we’re constantly working on making that better.
There are several ways this meeting format helps us have better meetings:
- We always have an agenda that’s clear
- Attendees know what’s expected of them in advance of the meeting
- We plan for a 40-minute meeting, but often finish in under 30
- There’s a lot of transparency
- EVERYONE is expected to participate/bring something to the table
- All follow-ups and tasks are placed into a system where they can be tracked
We think so!
Be honest, do your team meetings suck? We’d love to hear about them (good or bad) — give us a shout in the comments section below.
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